Flying car a step closer - company
Washington - Drivers hoping to slip the surly - and traffic congested - bonds of Earth moved a step closer to realising their dream, as a US firm announced the successful test flight of a street-legal airplane.
Massachusetts based firm Terrafugia said their production prototype "Transition" car-plane had successfully carried out an eight-minute test flight, clearing the way for it to hit the market within a year.
"With this flight, the team demonstrated an ability to accomplish what had been called an impossible dream," said founder Carl Dietrich.
Terrafugia argues that the Transition offers unparalleled freedom of movement, with a range of 787km and without the need to check bags.
Spanning 2.3m as a car, it fits into a normal-sized garage, before unfurling a 8m wingspan.
To take advantage, would-be owners will need to have both a driver's and pilot's license - with a minimum of 20 hours of flying time.
The craft needs 762m of runway for take-off, meaning pulling onto the shoulder and escaping the traffic is not really an option.
While many companies have tried to market an aero car, none have succeeded in producing more than a handful of models.
"The Transition Street-Legal Airplane is now a significant step closer to being a commercial reality," the company said.
The two-seater craft costs around $279 000 and some 100 vehicles have already been ordered.